homepage logo

‘International Miniatures’: Salon Series features classical explosion of music from around the world

By Staff | Mar 6, 2020


SHEPHERDSTOWN — On Feb. 27, the second Salon Series concert in Shepherd University’s spring semester surprised a full W.H. Shipley Hall audience with a virtuoso performance of international music by pianist Lynne Mackey.

Mackey holds a doctorate degree from the Eastman School of Music, a masters degree from The Juilliard School and a bachelors degree from the University of Michigan in music. She is a professor at Mary Baldwin University and coordinator of the MTNA Virginia Young Artist and Chamber Music competitions. Her concert featured music by composers from Europe, South America, Asia and North America.

“It’s so great to see so many people here,” said SU Keyboard Program Coordinator Yu-Hsuan Liao. “We are so delighted to have this great pianist, Lynne Mackey, perform for us today. She is such an accomplished pianist, with a diverse repertoire. It’s sure to provide something that everyone will like, as there is such a variety. This evening’s program is international, and will have music from all over the world, including Spain, France and Russia.”

Liao thanked Jefferson Security Bank for their continued sponsorship of the Salon Series, and then welcomed Mackey to the stage.

Mackey began the concert with three lyrical opuses by Russian composer Nikolai Medtner, from his collection, Fairy Tales. She then shifted the sound of the program, by performing American composer Emma Lou Diemer’s Toccata.

“This piece has a number of difficult types of sound effects. One of them is strumming the keys, another dislike a pounding on the keys and the third is dampening the keys, which is created by holding the keys in a certain way to create a dampening effect,” Mackey said. “It’s a fantastic piece, with an incredible contrast between sounds.”

The athletic quality of the piece required Mackey to stand up and reach inside the body of the grand piano on which she was playing. Her next set of pieces, American composer Charles Griffes’ Fountain of the Acqua Paola and American composer Henry Cowell’s Exultation, stepped back from this physical performance quality, respectively featuring the sounds of impressionism and note clusters.

“I’d like to bring a couple more American pieces to the program, which were written early in the 20th century,” Mackey said. “The past century was so inventive in style — there were so many different types of pieces created, well worth exploring.”

Polish composer Frederic Chopin’s Etude in E major, No. 3 and Etude in G-Flat Major, No. 5. were played next, followed by Spanish composer Isaac Albeniz’s Evocacion, French composer Maurice Ravel’s Alborada del gracioso, American composer Amy Rubin’s Cry of the Mothers, Chinese composer Tan Dun’s Floating Clouds, Canadian composer Alexina Louie’s Changes and three of Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff’s preludes.

Throughout the concert, Mackey continued to explain the significance of each piece, interspersed with her performances of them. She also expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to perform in the Salon Series.

“Thank you for having me here,” Mackey said. “I’m really enjoying being here tonight.”